Last week was one of those weeks where my OCD-driven life took a tumble and way too many pictures found their way on my desktop, in turn hiding the vision of my beloved psychedelic background. Half of the said clogfest was of architecture around Valletta – little do we know that the streets we wander around casually host some of the most impressive designs around. Case of the searching for something that’s right under your nose, me thinks. Enough with the architecture haul. The other half was from my little trip to St James Cavalier in between browsing boutiques and overdosing at Cinnabon. Guilty.
Popping by St James to check out what the art scene here is cookin’ seems to be a growing Valletta staple. Luckily for me, it’s the British Council’s 75th anniversary in Malta and Paula Rego has dug up over 50 works dating from the start of the 20th century up to today from the British Council’s archives for the occasion – the Thresholds exhibition.
Onto the fun stuff. The pieces scattered throughout the upper gallery include works by Graham Sutherland, Gwen John, Wyndham Lewis, Cecil Beaton, Lucian Frued and my favourite, watercolour magician Edward Burra. The fact he’s my favourite has nothing to do with his paintings looking like graphic Mary Katrantzou dresses hanging on a wall. U-huh. Paula Rego’s selection of pieces all seem to emit this sense of ‘at the edge’ – whether it’s adolescence, sexuality, growing up and old or literally falling off a cliff. How this feeling is contained in one exhibition with so many artisans and their assorted styles of work is truly remarkable. You also get the feeling that the selection was autobiographical and deeply personal as well, leaving you thinking as if at the end of the day, you know her too.
A little sidenote: I looooove the spiral staircase room that leads to the upper gallery. Well as much as one can love a room anyway. I think the interiors are exquisite and incredibly tasteful.
Leaving the building, I squeeled “Uuuurrgghhhh so colourful!” when I spotted a little origami wonder round the corner. Sadly, there was no information about this beautiful multi-coloured piece but it made its way to the gallery below anyway. Two thumbs up for ending a blog post with good visuals?
Thresholds – an exhibition of contemporary British art selected from the British Council Collection and curated by Paula Rego is at St James Cavalier, Valletta till 20th May 2012
Mondays and Tuesdays: 9.00 to 17.00
Wednesdays to Sundays: 9.00 to 21.00
Admission to the exhibition is free of charge